Re: Is a college education needed? - Posted by Neil(ms)
Posted by Neil(ms) on January 24, 2006 at 16:22:43:
Ray asks some very insightful questions for such a young feller. I wish I had been thinking that rationally at that age.
I hate the rat-race mentality of “go to school, study hard, get a degree for a job that pays well, build your resume, graduate with debt, go to work, always spend slightly more than you make” (kind of a mini-autobiography, minus the student loan debt). It seems that most people tend to either not really “use” the degree they got or eventually hate the work they feel they’ve locked themselves into based on a whimsical choice at age 18 or so. On that side of the coin, I would say forget college and consider the advice of Dan about the military. Just thinking about it, there does seem to be a pretty good correspondence between ex-military and good sense among a lot of people I know.
On the other side of it, I agree that I wouldn’t take anything for the experiences and (eventual) maturity that college delivered. I think it usually makes sense to make a break with the local gang for a while and head off somewhere to school. I certainly don’t consider it wasted time in my case, but I’ve seen others who didn’t get much at all out of four (or five or six) years. The bottom line is that seems to open more doors: just having the degree sometimes gets you places that all the street-smarts in the world doesn’t.
As far as courses: I was a computer science major (and computers are still my “real job”…but not for much longer I hope). Some of those courses were valuable long-term, but not as many as you would think. Looking back, accounting, finance, statistics, and particularly business law (luckily I took all of them I could find) probably did more to help me in everyday life, especially REI. No, it won’t make you an accountant or a lawyer if you just take a few of them to get a minor in it, but it will prepare you for the concepts and give you a starting point for reading and learning from others.
If I had it to do over again, I think I would have gone to college but tried to find work somewhere in the real estate field during college. It could be managing somebody else’s rentals, rehabbing, pulling permits is busy areas…almost anything that would provide real-world experience in the field.
As Auburn’s (no, not my alma mater) old ball coach Pat Dye once said “Hindsight is 50/50”.